‘Catching Fire’ Update: Gary Ross Still in Talks to Direct ‘Hunger Games’ Sequel [Updated]

Published 3 years ago by , Updated February 15th, 2014 at 8:48 pm,

[Update: Despite these reports, Gary Ross is officially out.]

The Hunger Games has become a huge box office success, claiming the number one spot at the box office for three consecutive weeks, and grossing over $300 million domestically. But last week, word of Gary Ross not returning to direct Catching Fire, the sequel to The Hunger Games, flooded the Internet.  Turns out we may have all jumped the gun, as word is now coming out that Ross may not have withdrawn his name as we previously reported.

According to Deadline, Ross is formally not out of the running as of yet, and reports stating otherwise are simply inaccurate.  But Ross isn’t formally signed on to direct Catching Fire, either.

It all started off with a tense standoff between Lionsgate and Fox over their sequels, which both require the services of Hunger Games star, Jennifer Lawrence.  Fox decided to be gracious and schedule the production for X-Men: First Class 2 (in which Lawrence plays Mystique) to start in January 2013. This meant that Catching Fire could begin production in Fall of this year. Fox had an option deal on Lawrence way before she signed on to play Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games.

With the scheduling conflicts cleared between the two studios, it was assumed that talks between Lionsgate and Ross were near competition.  But this is where it all starts to get a little fuzzy.

As aforementioned, it was reported that Ross was expecting a raise for his services on The Hunger Games and that if he didn’t get it, he would be pursuing other projects that he had to put on the shelf.  Given that the filmmaker has already helmed Pleasantville and Seabiscuit (two critically acclaimed films) long before The Hunger Games, a raise seemed to be in order. THR reports that the raise was somewhere in the $3 million range.  But Lionsgate isn’t known for giving hefty payouts, hence the previous reports of Ross not coming back to direct Catching Fire.

catching fire simon beaufoy Catching Fire Update: Gary Ross Still in Talks to Direct Hunger Games Sequel [Updated]

However, all of that seems unlikely since Ross had already put so much time and effort into directing the film and was already working with author Suzanne Collins outlining the script for Catching Fire.  In addition, the director already has a rapport with the cast and crew of the film, so it makes little sense to leave all of that behind.

One of the options being considered was to ‘buy’ more time for Ross, essentially paying Fox (or horse trading in other ways) to bump its production schedule to accommodate the Catching Fire shoot. The other idea was to bring in a new director, the same way that Summit has been rotating directors for The Twilight Saga franchise.

Catching Fire releases in theaters November 22, 2013.


Sources: Deadline & THR

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  1. I really hope they pick someone else other than Ross. The Hunger Games was a good film despite the directing which was just terrible.

    • I disagree. I felt like some of the effects work may not have been up to snuff but I really enjoyed the look of the film in general and the performances. I also like that Ross gave the movie room to breathe, i.e. the trip to the Capitol, the Cave, the alliance with Rue. I felt like the ending was a bit rushed but then again, they had already begun to incorporate some of the 2nd novel into the screenplay so I will have to wait for the 2nd movie to see if it’s damaging to the movie version of the story. I hope Ross comes back.

      • I also have to disagree with you Mike. Other than the stupid shaky cam action sequences, I really liked his style of directing in the movie. A lot of the camera angles and the close-ups (again, not during action) added to the dramatic moments of the film in my opinion. I hope if he directs the sequel, that he listened to the fans and will not do the shaky cam stuff during the action sequences. But other than that, I liked the directing in this first movie. :-)

        • Ken J…

          I agree with you about the WAY he filmed the various non-action shots. I thought they were presented quite effectively. As for the shaky cam, it didn’t bother me nearly as much as it did others, but I AM hoping that just because Katniss is a BIT more sure of the world’s workings in CATCHING FIRE, Ross (or whoever takes over) sees fit to at least reduce its frequency of use; I simply do not think it will be as necessary (in his way of thinking) or as useful in the sequel.

    • AGREED. His directoring was very low brow tv.

      • i wouldn’t mind shaky cam, unless its more steady, and cut down drastically

  2. I wish they would just give Ross the raise already. The guy just made you 400 million dollars. Compared to a measly 3 million dollar raise, and the increased sales from the sequel due to the success from the first film, it’s not like they’re not going to turn a profit from it. The first film was good. I disagreed with the shaky camerawork during some of the action scenes because it was really hard to discern what was happening. The effects work was also pretty under done, but that was because they had a very limited budget (70 million – Summit isn’t known for dumping money on their films unless they’re successes), but they were still doable.

    All in all, I feel like Catching Fire would suffer with a change in director, much like the twilight films did. David Slade and Bill Condon did decent jobs, but imagine how much better it would have been if the entire series would have had a director who would have had one, steady vision instead of changing it up every other movie due to differing filming styles, tastes, etc.

    • He didn’t make the company 400 milluon dollars……. it would have had made that much regardless

      • Yes and no. You’re right, it would have been successful anyway, even without him. But he also did co-write the script with Suzanne Collins and Billy Ray, which I feel definitely helped.

        • Its not like the script was andy sorkin quality it was nothing amazing

  3. Yes, he did make them 400 million. If the movie wasn’t food it would not be getting all this repeat business, and a huge part of its success was Ross’ casting the movie perfectly. If they don’t get Ross for the sequel it will be a huge mistake.

    • really? Cause movies like twilight and transformers aren’t good movies and make a lot of money.


    • THIS

  5. We will see how good (or poor) a director he is if he does direct the sequel. The second book is different in a LOT of ways from the first. The first felt small (or TV-ish) because it is a very personal story for Katniss. The second book is a much more grand tale and encompasses a bigger footprint in the Hunger Games world. I am giving him the benefit of the doubt for the first one but he will have to change that style for the second.

    My thoughts on the possible reasons for the shaky cam:
    1: The use of shaky cam, close-up blurry images was to keep the PG-13 rating
    2: The actors involved couldn’t fight their way out of a paper bag, thus they couldn’t be filmed fighting
    3: Or lazy (i.e. cheap) choreography
    4: Gary just failed in the filming choice.

    And I hated the shaky cam FWIW.

  6. I would like to be a extra I can sing and act and I was also a model